Tag Archives: sports

There are sports and sports.

Last October, this article provided a laugh about thugs in pro sports: NFL Goes A Month Without A Player Arrest For First Time Since 2009. Just one more reason to avoid watching pro sports.

When I was a boy, I was a fan of first the New York Yankees baseball team and then the Baltimore Orioles baseball and Colts football teams. I was a pretty good baseball and football player and loved playing both games. I was lucky to see the legends play on their home fields: Mickey Mantle, Brooks Robinson, and Johnny Unitas.

Then I grew up. Now that I’m an adult, I have no interest in professional team sports. Adults sound infantile when they gush about a pro ball team. Don’t these jock sniffers understand that any team will jump ship when a better tax break is offered by another city? Ditto the players? There is no team or player allegiance. Why cheer for any pro team?

Most pro teams are owned by closely held corporations. It makes more sense to watch their share prices and cheer for each uptick.

Have you seen today’s fans of professional sports? Most haven’t exercised since high school P.E. class.  Only I.T. professionals have more grotesque physiques. At least one author agrees: America’s Passive Obsession With Professional Sports Is Promoting Obesity. Malik Mohammed commented,

I never understood the obsession grown men have with sports. And it’s not just pro sports, even amateur college teams have fanatics. Why? Are these guys just living vicariously through people more talented than them? Are they trying to escape their own meager life with mindless hobbies? Or are they just conforming to the interests they think a man ought to have? The passion people have for a bunch of guys throwing a ball around is astounding.

Lucius Petillius Clarus added,

“We won, we won!” you’ll hear superfans say.

No you pathetic second-hander, “you” didn’t win. A group of highly paid men playing for money beat another group of highly paid men playing for money. They’re not even from your city. You don’t know them and they don’t know you. They don’t give a fuck about you beyond getting you to pay $50 for a jersey and $150 to see one of their games.

I do like other sports, though. Swimming, water polo, water skiing, surfing, cycling, hiking, self defense. Most of these sports demand fitness, which requires sustained training. They also require strategy, reflexes, and technique. Most involve little or no money. Most attract few spectators.

Some of my peers like to golf, or bowl, or snow ski. They call them sports. I call them pastimes. (I played golf as a teenager. My mother and I always walked; I can’t imagine riding in a golf cart! Golf is okay . . . if you’re a sissy.) Russians call chess a sport, which is silly.

How bad is the NFL crime problem? NFL Player Arrests since 2000

A cure for muscle cramps

I’ve always been bothered by painful muscle cramps in my legs after strenuous exercise. They wake me at night after a hard day of hiking, biking, or swimming. Occasionally they’ll occur during a long hard bike ride or a hard swim workout. For decades I thought that I’d just have to tolerate the pain. Yes, some cyclists fill their water bottles with Gatorade, but it’s loaded with sugar. I thought that it was a useless gimmick. I’ve tried gorging on bananas to replace lost potassium, with no apparent effect.

gu-brewDave at Lauderdale Cyclery suggested that I try drinking a solution of Gu Brew and water (one tablet per water bottle) while cycling. I was skeptical, but was pleased to find that It actually works! No more cramps at night, and only occasional minimal hints of cramps when after a flip-turn, I push off the pool wall.

I drink this solution when swimming, cycling . . . any form of exercise. I wish that I’d discovered it earlier. The tablets are available in a variety of flavors. I don’t have a favorite flavor; I like them all.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Against the wind

I was thinking about biking and how much pleasure it’s been over the decades, from my first tricycle, through my 20-inch bike with training wheels, through a succession of bikes of all types.

Schwinn Continental bicycle, c 1960One emotion runs through my memories of all of my bikes: freedom. The only bad memories involve headwinds. Hours and hours of headwinds.

In the 1960s I attended college in the middle of Kansas. I had no car, and saved my money for a new Schwinn Continental (a gorgeous but heavy 10-speed bike). I’d regularly ride that bike about 20 miles to Salina, KS. The roads were flat, but the never-ending wind was a killer. I’d not yet learned about the near-necessity of padded bicycle shorts or gloves. The rides would just beat me up, especially if I faced a headwind both northbound and southbound. (Yes, it happened sometimes — a front would come through and the wind would shift direction by 180 degrees. Result? Forty miles in first and second gear!)

Last month I was amused to find a Kansas bicycle podcast and the first thing that they mentioned was the difficulty of cycling into the wind. That persistent Kansas wind.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries

David Byrne (once the Talking Heads guitarist/singer, now world music producer) is an avid bicyclist. While on concert tour, he uses his folding bike to explore the local color. A few years ago he assembled his worldwide bike travel notes into a book titled Bicycle Diaries.

ListenDavid Byrne on folding bikeYou can listen to him read a chapter from his book. David Byrne reads his Australia chapter from his 2009 book, Bicycle Diaries. I like his transportation philosophy: use a bicycle when it’s appropriate, such as in urban settings and for short to medium length rides. Use other transport modes when they make more sense.

Congratulations to Oracle

I called the America’s Cup competition in San Francisco Bay wrong. So did almost everyone else. Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA’s 72-foot long catamaran recovered from an 8 to 1 deficit to Emirates Team New Zealand and won. Yes, OTUSA came back from certain defeat to win sailing’s most prestigious trophy by a score of 9 to 8.

Every aspect of this year’s America’s Cup was controversial.

  • The “USA” in the Oracle Team USA moniker is meaningless; OTUSA’s onboard crew consists of exactly one American and nine Kiwis and Aussies. Its helmsman is an Australian. The OTUSA crew list reveals that this is a corporate — not a national — team.
  • Most potential teams stayed home because of costs. Larry reportedly spent upwards of $200 million.
  • Tbe boats look like trampolines.
  • The crews are dressed in helmets and what appear to be NASCAR driving suits.

The “yachts” and the racing resembled Formula One more than yachting. Have a look at the final race on YouTube.

Slate scowled in The Miracle on San Francisco Bay:

There’s really no rational reason for someone who isn’t from New Zealand and/or some type of robber baron to care even one bit about the America’s Cup, or to root for Larry Ellison and his team of sailing carpetbaggers.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Dodging raindrops

Wunderground LogoI’ve been riding my bike more and now that the rainy season has arrived, staying dry is often a challenge. Wunderground.com is a fantastic resource: you can display moving real-time radar scans of your neighborhood. At least here in south Florida, these give me a good idea of where it’s raining, and the direction in which the rain is moving. Wunderground has a mobile adaptive interface, so it’s just the ticket to use on my smartphone while cycling! (Of course, I come to a safe stop first, well off the roadway.)

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Bicycle Maintenance 101

Bicycle Cassette teethI’ve ridden bicycles for decades and thought that I understood their maintenance. One procedure that I have trouble with is derailleur adjustment, so when my Trek 7900 hybrid bike’s rear derailleur stopped shifting smoothly, I took it to Miguel Escobar, the chief mechanic at a Fort Lauderdale bike shop.

I expected that Miguel would carefully adjust my bike’s rear derailleur. Instead, after noticing that both up- and down- shifts were erratic, Miguel began carefully cleaning my bike’s freewheel, followed by cleaning and lubricating the chain.

I thought that clean freewheels and chains looked nice, but aside from reducing friction, I wasn’t aware that they affected gear shifting. I was wrong. Miguel pointed out that dirt and oil form a sticky paste that glues the chain to each cog on the freewheel, so the chain doesn’t obediently follow the rider’s shift commands.

He’s right. After the freewheel cog cleaning, the bike shifts gears smoothly. I still have lessons to learn, even on relatively simple devices.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695